Software updates: Amazon Kindle v Apple iOS

Posted on by Mike Evans

Last week I updated my iPhone and iPad to the latest Apple operating system. Apple did everything for me: “Your software needs updating. Press ‘Install’.”

Today I updated my Kindle (now called the Kindle Keyboard) to the latest 3.3 operating system. I had to do it all. It isn’t very technical, but I suspect it will challenge the abilities of some Kindle users, many of whom are technophobes who really didn’t want a tablet computer but were attracted by the idea of carrying all their books around with them.

So, over to Amazon, “root Kindle drive” and all:

  1. Determine your software version: From Home, select Menu, then Settings. On the Settings screen you will see the Kindle version at the bottom of the screen. If you see “Version Kindle 3.1” or earlier (3.0.3, 3.0.2, 3.0.1, or 3.0), please proceed with the steps below to update your Kindle Keyboard to the latest software.


  2. Download your software: Click on the appropriate link below to download the software update file directly to your computer:

  3. Kindle Keyboard: Download 3.3
    Your serial number will start with “B008”

    Kindle 3G Keyboard: Download 3.3
    Your serial number will start with “B00A”

    Kindle 3G Keyboard: Download 3.3
    Your serial number will start with “B006”

    Your Kindle serial number is visible at the bottom of the Settings Screen. From Home, select Menu, then Settings.

  4. Transfer software to your Kindle: Turn your Kindle on and connect it to your computer using the USB cable. Drag and drop the new update file from your computer to the root Kindle drive. (The drive contains a number of folders - such as “audible,” “documents,” and “music” - and is typically displayed as a “device” icon).

  5. Monitor file transfer and disconnect: Check your file transfer progress to ensure file transfer to your Kindle is complete before disconnecting. After the file has transferred successfully, eject the Kindle Keyboard to safely disconnect Kindle Keyboard from your computer. Disconnect the USB cable from your Kindle Keyboard and your computer.

  6. Start the software update: Go to the Home screen, press the Menu key, and select “Settings.” Press the Menu key again, and then select “Update Your Kindle.” (This option will be grayed out if the most recent update has already been installed or if the file transfer was not successful.) Select “Ok” when prompted if you want to perform an update. Your Kindle Keyboard will restart twice during the update. After the first restart, you will see “Your Kindle is Updating”.

  7. Once the update is complete: Your Kindle Keyboard will automatically restart a second time. When you go to the Settings page, you should notice Version: 3.3 at the bottom of the screen. Once you see this, you know your update is complete.

All went smoothly, though the final installation process involved a number of steps and what appeared to be repetitions. But it was all straightforward. By comparison with updating an Apple product, though, it is a skein of complexity.

I wonder if the software updates on the new Kindle Fire will be as simple as they are on an iPad or iPhone. Or will owners have to go through techie hoops to get there.

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